THE MODERN MINT BLOG

Sep01

Urban Bees

Trees for Bees

Urban Bees is bringing bees to our cities. They are not just training people in beekeeping, or partnering up beekeepers with people who have the space to keep a hive (much like the ‘adopt a beehive’ scheme run by Richard from Essex Bees) but they are also promoting bee-friendly spaces.

Just study the Trees for Bees poster above (you can also view it on the Urban Bees website.) Bees don’t want to waste energy, so planting a tree gives the bees an efficient way to earn a vital food source. We love using lime trees in a garden for a client, but the real benefit for bees comes from trees in flower early and late on in the season so get planting a strawberry tree for the Autumn and hazel and goat willow for the Spring!

(We currently have a big patch of cosmos, an annual flower, which is proving incredibly popular with the bees here in Chelmsford. It looks its best in September and should continue to flower all the way through to the first frosts. We have grown it for years now and never cease to enjoy it, as simple a plant as it is…)

Honey will look and taste differently, depending on where it is harvested. In the countryside many farms specialise in only a few crops, so bees visiting these fields will have a narrow diet. Urban bees have the diversity of the city to enjoy, so can stumble across trees and flowers they may not find in any great quantity in the country. On the Urban Bee website they talk about the taste of their honey…

“The honey has a delicate, light flavour with a slight hint of citrus as the bees will have visited many of the local lime trees that flower in June and July.”

We have read of a honey from Morocco that was thick and as dark as obsidian. The writer was almost a honey hound, scouring the world to obtain a jar (or at least a taste!) of different types. Until last year, we had never realised honey would be different depending on what the bees had to forage amongst. Nor did we appreciate how different good honey is to the stuff you get in a squeezy bottle… don’t buy that anymore, please. Look for something of quality…

Urban Bees is run by Brian McCallum and Alison Benjamin – who wrote these Urban Bee Books. They are supported by organisations like River of Flowers and Tower Hamlets Cemetery Park, both of whom are doing important work bringing green space to London.

Do support their work and give a helping hand to our Urban Bees.

May03

Selection Of Topiary Videos To Help You Clip

Over the last two years I have been involved with a couple of projects that have ended up being recorded, then placed on Youtube or Instagram. I’m hoping they will be useful to you, so I have decided this morning to pop them together in one handy blog post so that you can bookmark the page and revisit when you need some inspiration for your topiary. See below then, a few videos about topiary I have recently been involved with… Garden Masterclass – Provocations of a Modern Topiarist Transforming Topiary Topiary Teacher Put On The Spot https://www.instagram.com/p/CTj-EfOKRL6/ In the above …

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May03

Mark Zlotsky – Topiary Tango In New York

Mark Zlotsky is an artist based in New York, and today I just wanted to share his project ‘Topiary Tango’. In his introduction to the project he talks of topiary being a forgiving art, which I love and is soooooo true…..! For proof, just take a look at some projects I have made with a sharp pair of shears, a hedgetrimmer and a pruning saw. Do check out Mark Zlotsky’s project, because although his interest began by looking at topiary through the prism of architecture and the relationship of one building to another, he touches directly onto a way of …

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Apr27

Gardenista Interview – I Talk About Modern Topiary

Gardenista, the online magazine about gardens and design, have interviewed me about topiary. The article is called ‘Rethinking Topiary: A Garden Tradition Loosened Up’ and was published this morning. Written by the excellent garden writer Clare Coulson, I share some thoughts on using deciduous plants, how to clip (name-dropping Anne Lamott and her book on writing at one stage… oh, how I wander off subject sometimes!) and how to improve topiary by what you plant around it. Do take a look at the article in Gardenista. Or for more about my topiary work, check out the topiary page.